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Eugene City Council votes to move forward with temporary homeless camp

In a 7 to 1 vote, councilors voted to allow city staff to move forward and finalize plans for a temporary homeless dusk to dawn camp and daytime drop-in center.

Posted: Oct 22, 2018 10:30 PM
Updated: Oct 14, 2019 6:45 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- A new temporary homeless camp in downtown Eugene is now one step closer to becoming a reality.

City council members voted to move ahead and allow city staff to finalize arrangements for the camp on Monday night.

However, not all councilors were in favor of the camp.

"I think it's a response and a reaction, rather than a plan," said Councilor Mike Clark.

Clark said he knows this isn't a permanent solution, but he doesn't feel this property in downtown, which is owned by the city, is the right spot for this camp.

"Now, I know we're working on it, but I do think this is a bad idea for us," Clark said.

The proposal from the city manager's office shows a well-organized drop-in day center, and a dusk to dawn camp on the old city hall lot.

It would include three large tents, restrooms, dumpsters and privacy fencing.

The camp would also be a place for people to meet with their case workers.

One important factor is that it would be a low-barrier entry, meaning no drugs or alcohol on-site, but if someone is drunk or high and can conduct themselves in a proper manner, they can have a place to go.

The catch is that the temporary camp would only intitially house 38 people.

That number could increase, but that's the number city staff said St. Vincent De Paul would want to start with.

The proposal was passed with a 7 to 1 vote, and the councilors in favor, like Claire Syrett, felt this was the right step toward a more permanent housing solution.

"I like the approach you've taken to the pieces of the site that are neccessary," Syrett said. "I think it's taking into account a lot of the needs of the folks we are looking to provide temporary shelter to, and also the dynamics involved in providing this kind of service."

As of right now, there is no budget for this proposed temporary campsite.

The city manager's office said they will continue to work to create a budget to present to the city council at a later date, and it will likely take several weeks before this temporary campsite is put in place.

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